Marlins' Opening Day bash gives fans reason to return

Mon Mar 31, 2014 11:59pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

MIAMI (Reuters) - Miami finished with the worst record and lowest attendance in the National League last year but young ace Jose Fernandez gave jaded fans reason to return to the ball park on Monday, leading the Marlins to a 10-1 Opening Day rout of the Colorado Rockies.

While the Major League Baseball season officially began last week in far away Australia, for Americans from New York to San Diego it was Monday that marked the true Opening Day and for the Marlins, the promise of another clean slate.

"We got it all tonight," said an elated Marlins coach Mike Redmond. "Jose set the tone, I think he was a little nervous to start but he settled in, made his pitches and after that first inning was locked in.

"It's fun to see him go out there and compete. It was an emotional night for him having his family here and he handled it like a 20-year veteran.

"It shows you when the lights come on, that is when you see the most from your ball club."

For much of the last three years the Marlins have been lost in the gloom, with fresh starts quickly turning rotten.

Miami has finished bottom of the NL East in the last three seasons and lost 100 games in last year's dismal campaign which began with owner Jeffrey Loria unloading most of the team's big names for bargain basement prospects.

The Marlins' offence was the worst in the NL in almost every category and their payroll remains among the lowest in the Major Leagues.   Continued...

Mar 31, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins starting pitcher Jose Fernandez (16) throws in the third inning of an opening day baseball game against the Colorado Rockies at Marlins Ballpark. Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports